Chelsea knock cup holder Lyon out of CL, Orange trio with Wolfsburg to last four
Chelsea footballers have reached the last four in the Champions League at the expense of cup holder Olympique Lyonnais.
The French team, with Dutch internationals Daniëlle van de Donk and Damaris Egurrola at the kickoff, had lost 1-0 at home to the champions of England, but looked to be well on their way to the semifinals in the extension. A late penalty and a lost penalty box series killed the record champion.
VfL Wolfsburg had also eliminated a French club earlier in the evening. The two-time tournament winner, with Dutch trio Dominique Janssen, Lynn Wilms and Jill Roord in the starting lineup, played 1-1 against Paris Saint-Germain at home and that was enough after the 1-0 win a week ago in Paris.
Lieke Martens was missing from PSG last week when Janssen became the matchwinner for the champions of Germany in Paris from 11 yards, but quickly asserted herself in Wolfsburg. She headed the ball back to Laurina Fazer, who failed to handle the chance more carefully. Then Kadidiatou Diani did better in the 11th minute, but she was just a foot offside.
The French team left no doubt about wanting to quickly repair the damage done at home, but it only got worse after losing the ball in midfield. Alexandra Popp intercepted Sandy Baltimore’s pass, got the ball back just outside the penalty area moments later and surprised with a shot that sailed over the 1.75-meter long goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi into the goal: 1-0.
Around the half-hour mark, Popp headed straight at Bouhaddi after a gliding dive, then at the other end Diani, who showed herself stronger in the air than Janssen, did score with her head: 1-1. PSG’s most dangerous attacker, who had come on without the injured Jackie Groenen, suffered a shoulder injury before halftime that made further play impossible.
The second half began tempestuously with chances back and forth. The highlight was the open chance from close range for Popp, who no doubt thought he was already rich, but hit the post. Then Roord also turned up free for Bouhaddi, but she shot against the Frenchwoman.
Although Paris Saint-Germain tried everything, Wolfsburg was closest to a second goal several times. Popp saw a header cleared off the line by attacker Grace Geyoro, Lena Oberdorf headed against the French crossbar after a corner kick, while a cross from Sveindis Jane Jonsdottir landed on top.
Lyon let victory slip out of their hands
Olympique Lyonnais, the second French team in the last eight, also had to overcome a 1-0 home defeat on foreign soil. The first good chance was also for the guests. Denmark’s Signe Bruun popped over too hastily and wildly after a mistake by attacker Magdalena Eriksson. Then Chelsea attacker Lauren James asserted herself twice.
First she put Sam Kerr alone in front of Christiane Endler, but the Chilean goalkeeper kept her cool and parried the Australian star player’s effort. Halfway through the first half, the industrious James drove Van de Donk crazy with a couple of quick moves, after which she also proved to have a vicious shot. Endler had the most trouble with it.
Lyon, who won the Champions League for the eighth time last season thanks to a 3-1 victory over FC Barcelona, disappointingly did little to counter that. However, with the post halftime entrance of Norway’s Ada Hegerberg, 2018’s first winner of the Ballon d’Or for women, the French team quietly became more threatening.
And came up 0-1 through Vanessa Gilles fifteen minutes before time. The Canadian center defender tapped a low cross from American Lindsey Horan at the first post behind Chelsea goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger.
The latter got one more in the second extension to the regret of the English home crowd. A low cross from Hegerberg passed two pairs of London legs, then Sara Däbritz passed Berger with a placed shot.
With that, the tired Chelsea seemed to have collected the knockout. However, a hopeless-looking desperation attempt by James resulted in a penalty at the parting of the market, as Vicky Becho tapped her against the back leg. Norwegian veteran Maren Mjelde chased the outside chance icily into the top corner. With many more penalties to follow.
Mjelde again put herself behind the ball and opened the dessert with another rasping kick. Lyon topper Wendie Renard failed first, followed immediately by a miss from James. On the very last of the series, off the foot of Horan, Berger emerged victorious in the game for the second time.